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Essay written by

Essays written by Mr. Ikko Nishimura:

Dear the New Students
By Ikko Nishimura
Translated by Madoka Nishina

Three years ago from now, I was sitting in that seat just like you. When I look back, I can remember the days of hard work in the sea of entrance examinations.

When I was in middle school, I used to imagine my dream high school life. I imagined a beautiful building, and cool school uniform, and my exam study looked like a colorful and youthful dream.

What do you imagine about your high school life?

Now that I have become a senior in Yamate Gakuin, I look back at my years in high school and I wonder if my high school life was like the one I have imagined it to be when I was in middle school. The answer is no.

How I thought my high school years would be like in middle school was far from what high school actually was. My high school life had not been what I have ever imagined it to be.

Yamate Gakuin has a very unique global concept. Did you know that 84 years ago, one female college student went overseas to the United States on her own. She is the founder of Yamate Gakuin, Ms. Emori Setsuko.

At the time, the world had just experienced the First World War. In a country with few Japanese people, Ms. Setsuko had worked very hard to achieve studying. With her ambition of raising a students who can jump into the world, this became Yamate Gakuin’s policy, and it is still the main educational objective of the school.

Yamate Gakuin has a two week homestay program in North America called the North American training program. There is also a program called Return Visit which allows homestay students from North America to the school. Also, there is an annual program held in New York allowing students to participate in the United Nations World Conference of high school students.

Because of these programs, my life in Yamate Gakuin allowed me to think globally. This change will let me expand my thoughts to the world. I went to India when I was in the first grade in high school as a volunteer, and in my second year of high school, I went to Tohoku Ishinomaki with my American friend for as a volunteer again. I am still keeping in touch with these foreign friends on social networking sites. I never imagined myself to be this international when I was in middle school. These are all things I did not imagine when I was in middle school.
However, this change in myself had come for a reason. This was not a change that had come only to me. Many of my friends have become mindful about foreign countries, and have gone to study abroad. They have also been influenced by the environment in Yamate Gakuin.

In Yamate Gakuin, there is a slope called “Sakurazaka”. This slope that I pass every morning, becomes a beautiful pink color in the spring. The cherry blossom tree that makes the slop pink symbolizes the school. The improvement in high school life can be illustrated as the growth of the tree, and the flowers that bloom in the spring allure the people with its beauty. 

The brilliant cherry blossom tree had grew, spending a huge amount of time. The tree was a tiny sprout that grew out of a seed. Over time, the sprout developed a strong tree trunk and had bloomed beautiful flowers. This process had come from environmental support.

Fertile land, the glorious rays of sunlight, abundant rain, and wind to carry pollen. Such help had been given to the tree, allowing it to grow tall and strong, and to bloom beautiful cherry blossoms. The brilliant tree had been helped by several environmental factors, and takes hold of beauty as if they are impressing the people. The best seed would not be able to bloom flowers if it is not for the help of its environment.

Yamate Gakuin had been the best environment for me, that I could ever have asked for.

With teachers like the fertile land to teach me knowledge about living, friends that warm me like the sun, and the natural, peaceful environment supporting me like the rain, and the global curiosity that spreads like the wind, I was able to come this far.

 I was able to grow from the help of Yamate Gakuin, and this had given me the opportunity of dreaming of the future, a new blossom. Someday, I would like to bloom flowers that would impress people, just like the cherry blossom tree in our school.

This time period we live in is being developing into the global world. Our area of activities are moving from in Japan, to into the world.

India and North America, two places I’ve been when I was in high school, had many Japanese visitors. The world is becoming closer to us. In a special environment of Yamate Gakuin, one can experience international perspectives closely.

Many seniors of this school have walked the slope of Sakurazaka, and have jumped into the global world. Wouldn’t you like to jump into the world too?

In the environment of Yamate Gakuin, would you like to see yourself grow?

In April, when you will join the school, the slope of Sakurazaka would be waiting for you with beautiful flowers.I am looking forward to seeing you at the slope, under the cherry blossom tree next Spring.

Growth During High School
By Ikko Nishimura
Translated by Hinako Fujiwara

There are several requirements for a plant to grow.
First, the seed has to be in a certain condition, and second, it needs sufficient support?such as nutrition, water, oxygen, light, and temperature.
Another essential element is timing.

When these requirements are met, the plant grows.

In our lives, high school is a time of remarkable growth.
In our hearts exist a vague anxiety for the future, and there is a pathway to our dreams which are still very faint. These three years pass by quickly, but we learn plenty. And this place in which we learn is school.

Choosing a high school is a big issue for some.
As this time can be the most sensitive time of our lives,
Our growth largely depends on what we learn and what we embark on.

High school is when the true learning starts in our lives.
It is not only the preparation for colleges and universities, but I believe it is also the beginning of studying for our lives beyond that.

I think many of you are now attending school visits.
What do you keep in mind when you come to choose a high school?

I think that the elements in choosing a high school are the same with the elements needed for a plant’s growth.
No matter how hard the seed tries to grow, if there isn’t any support, it would be impossible for it to sprout.

Now, in the 21st century, our world is highly information-oriented and highly systematic. Hence, our values we have had before may not be understood. Globalization is an example of a recent concept. The world is becoming “smaller”, and our role now has to be something beyond the borders of our country.

The reason why I chose Yamate Gakuin to be my place of learning is because of its internationalism.
Yamate Gakuin aims to make their students into somebody that can play a significant role at an international level.

Ever since I was small, I have loved experiencing new things, and I have been trying out different things. This curiosity of mine has eventually made me look to the various cultures of the world.
Now, my dream is to work overseas, after studying abroad.

In Yamate Gakuin, there is a two-week studying program held in the United States.
I participated in this program last April. I stayed in Washington, in a house of an African family with nine people. During the weekday, I studied with the children of the family in a local high school, and during the weekend, I went sightseeing. Of course, the classes were held in English. In the beginning, I felt it would be troublesome spending time in a very different culture. However, in the second half, I found myself thinking that this life was something natural. Three months have passed, but I still keep in touch with friends I have made during this program. Now, in my second year of high school, I have become the one to welcome students from the U.S.; we now have two high school students currently staying.
Through this program, my English skills and communication skills have improved. I, personally, did volunteer work in Tohoku with my friend from America, and also went alone to Kolkata to do service at Mother Teresa’s Home.

I believe that there are two changes that this study program brought to me which enabled me to participate in these volunteer activities.
First of all, it expanded my horizon.
In the cultures of the various countries, there are things unimaginable from our lives in Japan. By experiencing these cultures, I realized that my standards were in fact nothing normal.
Second of all, it fostered my spirit of challenge even more than what I already had.
In the United States, passive attitude and reserve are not common. It is much more natural to be active, and to express your thoughts. Even during my studying period in the U.S., I strived to express my thoughts and feelings. Through this change, the world which was once in my dreams now became a place where I stand.

Many students, including me, have grown significantly from this study program in the U.S.
Many of my friends have even decided to study abroad, after experiencing this program.

Today, we are in a world where a culture that seemed completely different have become something natural.
This was something I have never even dreamt of in my years of junior high.

And this, I believe, is the growth during high school.

Yamate Gakuin brought me the chance to become somebody I have never imagined I would be?and I am truly glad that I have made the decision to enter this school.

Wouldn’t you want to experience this, too?
And, wouldn’t you want to become somebody whom you never imagined?
Yamate Gakuin provides us with enough support needed for our growth.

Right now, I am spending my high school days eager about what unimaginable experience they will let me have next.

I, Ikko Nishimura, strongly recommend Yamate Gakuin to be your place of learning.

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